Aoki Decisions Calvancante; Sakuraba Moves on at DREAM


Shinya Aoki catches Gesias Calvancante in an armbar. Photo courtesy of FEG.

A little more than a month after fans were left with a disappointing ending to a March matchup between Gesias Calvancante and Shinya Aoki, it was Aoki that finally came away the victor in one of the most-anticipated lightweights contests in recent memory earlier this morning in DREAM’s second-ever show.

The first fight between the two was ruled a no-contest after Calvancante struck Aoki with illegal elbows to the back of Aoki’s neck. Calvancante was warned and Aoki given time to recover, but after a few moments the esteemed grappler wasn’t able to continue. The two were also originally set to face off at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve but Calvancante was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a knee injury during training.

Aoki quickly pulled guard at the start of the fight and negated any sort of offense his opponent tried to mount. However after stomping his way out of a heel hook attempt, Calvancante pounced on top of Aoki and began raining down an array of strikes, prompting the referee to give an even closer look at the action. Aoki was able to recover and eventually get back to his feet where he ended up taking Calvancante’s back and controlling him for the remainder of the round.

The second round saw Aoki pull Calvancante to the canvas once again and then quickly catch him in an armbar that nearly ended the fight. Calvancante was able to flip out of the hold and even scored with some ground and pound before Aoki went for another couple of armbars. Aoki transitioned into an inverted omoplata during the final minute of the fight, solidifying his win on the judge’s scorecards.

Aoki’s next opponent in just two weeks will now be former Japanese Olympic wrestler Katsuhiko Nagata according to DREAM officials.

The first round of DREAM’s middleweight grand prix saw longtime mixed martial arts veteran Kazushi Sakuraba submit Andrews Nakahara with a rear naked choke in the first round of their bout. Additional fighters who were victorious in the tournament’s first round included: Gegard Mousasi, Kiyoshi Tamura, Ronaldo Souza, Zelg Galesic, Dong Sik Yoon, and Taiei Kin.

Full results from the show:

Shinya Aoki def. Gesias Calvancante - Unanimous Decision
Taiei Kin def. Ikuhisa Minowa - Unanimous Decision
Dong Sik Yoon def. Shungo Oyama - Unanimous Decision
Zelg Galesic def. Magomed Sultanakhmedov - Submission (Armbar)
Ronaldo Souza def. Ian Murphy - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Kiyoshi Tamura def. Masakatsu Funaki - TKO (Strikes)
Gegard Mousasi def. Denis Kang - Submission (Triangle)
Kazushi Sakuraba def. Andrews Nakahara - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

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